“You don’t have to do something out of the ordinary to make a special impact. Be mindful of how to make the small moments count.”

-Hannah Mercader

Age: 27

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta

Affiliations: Mama na Mtoto, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

What influenced you to become a change-maker?

From a very young age, I have always had an interest in the health of vulnerable populations. Being born in rural Philippines and growing up in a low-income immigrant family in Canada, I understand the challenges of navigating through socio-economic inequities to achieve a healthy and well-balanced life. I’m passionate about working in public health as I hope to lessen these barriers for families, especially among vulnerable women and children, so that they can reach their potential and have happy and healthy lives.

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

As the Research Coordinator for Mama na Mtoto, I help support several maternal, newborn, and child health projects in Tanzania and Uganda. Through having a gender and health equity advisory committee and conducting gender-sensitive qualitative research, we are able to better understand the barriers that prevent pregnant women and mothers from accessing quality care. One interesting finding from our research is that many health facilities give preferential treatment to women who are accompanied by their husbands, in an effort to encourage male involvement. While this is a well-intentioned rule, it inadvertently isolates single mothers, particularly pregnant adolescent girls. Such findings have facilitated powerful discussions with government and health representatives regarding how to better provide equitable health care to the most vulnerable women.

How does the work you do addressing gender inequality connect to progress on the other Sustainable Development Goals?

In many countries and societies, women are not provided the same opportunities and rights as men, yet they comprise about half of our population and are often the primary caregivers of their households. If we want to fight for global sustainable development, we need to ensure that girls and women are equally equipped to take on the challenge. When young girls are provided quality education, they can pursue a career that can help lift their families out of poverty. When women have safe working conditions and are provided equitable pay, they can help contribute to their country’s economic growth. When working towards gender equity, it’s important that men are also educated and encouraged to be advocates. When youth have strong male and female role models practicing gender equity, the achievements made through the SDGs will be sustained throughout many generations.

More 2019 Top 30 Alumni

Amber Rai

"To be a change-maker, you must identify an issue that needs to be addressed, think of ways to bring about the change, and evaluate your efforts to ensure you are making the impact that you hoped for." -Amber Rai Age: 20 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Sherwood Park, Alberta Affiliations: Learning Beyond Borders, HEAL International Ever since I joined the Learning Beyond Borders club over five years ago, I have been working on programs to help students in rural Uganda....

Koshin Mohomoud

"The most important thing for anyone wanting to make a change is to get involved. Whether you are able to volunteer a little bit of your time or a lot, it is always important." -Koshin Mohomoud Age: 29 Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Edmonton Somali Professionals I am currently a senior policy advisor with the Government of Alberta. Prior to my current role, I worked in both the public and private sectors and spent time working in my...

Elizabeth Roden

"You don’t have to do something on a grand scale; just live your values and stand up for what you believe in." -Elizabeth Roden Age: 29 Hometown: Glendon, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Operation Eyesight (ACGC Member) From an early age, I’ve always believed that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I helped form a leadership group at my high school and was eager to learn more about world issues. In 2007, I moved to Calgary to pursue a degree...

Alex Wong

"As an advocate, it is important to recognize your own privilege and help elevate the voices of others, rather than replace them with your own." -Alex Wong Age: 22 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: MD Admissions Initiative for Diversity and Equity, Medical Students’ Association - University of Alberta, Canadian Federation of Medical Students, Net Impact My passion for medicine stems from my belief that good health is one of the cornerstones of...

Sara Kardash

"Listen to the stories of the women and gender-diverse people in our communities and take the time to unpack your unconscious biases." -Sara Kardash Age: 22 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Engineers Without Borders Canada (ACGC Member) I am in my final year of civil environmental engineering at the University of Alberta, where I have been involved with the on-campus Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada chapter as co-president. I went into...

Hannah Mercader

"You don’t have to do something out of the ordinary to make a special impact. Be mindful of how to make the small moments count." -Hannah Mercader Age: 27 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Mama na Mtoto, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary From a very young age, I have always had an interest in the health of vulnerable populations. Being born in rural Philippines and growing up in a low-income immigrant family in Canada, I understand...

Glenielia Ariel Crawler

"Be a changemaker by being a leader. Think big and believe in yourself. Be resilient; work with communities. Do what moves you." -Glenielia Ariel Crawler Age: 27 Hometown: Big Horn First Nation Currently Residing In: Morley First Nation Affiliations: Nakoda Youth Council- Mni Ki Wakan My name is Glenielia Crawler, but I also go by Ariel Waskewitch. I am Nakoda Sioux and Plains Cree, and I come from the small community of Big Horn First Nation. I am a proud mother to my three-year-old daughter...

John Christy Johnson

"I urge you to pay back to community, leave a trail of breadcrumbs for the prospective engineer, scientist, or astronaut, and pass the baton as you strive for personal success." -John Christy Johnson Age: 22 Hometown: Angadical, Kerala, India Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: University of Alberta Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory, ClickandPush Accessibility Inc., TEDxUAlberta As an Indo-Canadian and identical twin, I spend a fair proportion of my time thinking about...

Saige Godberson

"In the face of adversity, do not settle but rather speak up and create change." -Saige Godberson Age: 23 Hometown: Spruce Grove, Alberta Currently Residing In: Spruce Grove, Alberta Affiliations: Youthnited Nations International, Stollery Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sigma Nursing Honors Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Special Olympics Edmonton I often say that “if everyone makes a small change, together we will make a big difference.” As a registered nurse in...

Adam Goodwin

"Incorporate changes to address gender equality in your daily life. This can be in your own community, at the regional level, or through an international opportunity." -Adam Goodwin Age: 29 Hometown: Red Deer, Alberta Currently Residing In: Red Deer, Alberta Affiliations: Sport4one I spend a considerable amount of my personal time investing in the sport for development and peace industry. The industry employs sport as a means for economic, environmental, and social development. I became a...
Share This